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Default on loans reported



 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

BOISE – An Idaho state senator who has been the subject of ethics hearings over a failed attempt to pass a bill that would have benefited him has allegedly defaulted on $724,412 in loans.

Intermountain Community Bank of Payette is trying to foreclose on assets owned by Sen. Jack Noble, R-Kuna, and his wife. The bank loaned money for the couple’s farm operation beginning in 2000 and sued the couple last September.

The loans were due in February 2004, according to 4th District Court records. The bank seeks foreclosure on land, personal property, farm equipment, water rights and other collateral.

The third-year lawmaker has been battling to keep his Senate seat after allegations he failed to disclose why he tried to change a law that could have allowed liquor sales at a store he owns across the street from a school.

The Senate Ethics Committee will meet for the third time today and could recommend Noble’s expulsion, which would require a two-thirds vote by the full Senate.

Noble owns the store, Jacksmart, across from Melba Elementary School. Noble failed to disclose that his wife, Tracey Noble, asked the Idaho State Liquor Dispensary about getting a contract store at Jacksmart.

Bank officials and their lawyer declined to comment on the foreclosure lawsuit.

In addition to the Noble Entities, Intermountain Community added 17 other defendants in its effort to collect.

Among them are Noble’s parents, six other farmers, four agribusinesses, two landlords who own ground where Noble grew crops, two other lenders, the city of Kuna and the U.S. Farm Service Agency, which also lent to the Nobles.

Noble declined to be interviewed about the lawsuit, as did his lawyer, Brent Robinson, of Rupert.

Noble filed a counterclaim against the bank in December. He said the bank, which obtained a court order to harvest his corn in 2004, “harvested in a negligent and an unreasonable manner,” causing $99,400 in damages.

Noble’s counterclaim says he grew corn in 2004 only because the bank promised to pay him in full for the crop.

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